Play On Conference Makes High Energy Debut

  1. Updates

More than 250 adults 4-squared, switched, ro-sham-boed and shimmy clapped their way through two plus days of nonstop interactive learning, play and information as Playworks introduced its first ever Play On conference in San Francisco this spring. Play On was designed for individuals and organizations involved in advocating for or providing play and physical activity programs in their communities. The conference brought together some of the country’s leading experts on play and its benefits to discuss how to promote, fund and implement programs that bring play to youth. “This was hands-down by far the most active and comprehensive conference on play imaginable,” said one attendee. “The level of engagement, play and interactivity along with the impressive caliber of speakers with relevant topics was absolutely stunning. I walked away from this prepared and inspired to go back to my kids and community and immediately implement what I learned and play it forward.”Play On opened with a special session featuring speakers from influential health-driven foundations including Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente, the Arthur Blank Foundation discussing why play, and why now? The talk was followed by a discussion with Dr. Stuart Brown, one of the world’s top experts on play behavior. Kevin Carroll acclaimed author of Rules of the Red Rubber BallJessica Mendoza, two-time Olympic medalist and member of the U.S. women's softball team and David Bornstein, social innovation writer and author of How to Change the World were also among the featured speakers. San Francisco 49er COO Andy Dollich joined former Oakland Raider Morris Bradshaw, now a senior executive working with corporate sponsorships and business development with the Raiders, as well as All Stars Helping Kids’ Executive Director and new Playworks Board Member Marlon Evans, on a sports philanthropy panel. Playworks founder Jill Vialet, rounded out the conference speakers with a talk on “Radicalizing Play.”In addition, attendees selected from nearly three dozen breakout sessions addressing play programming, advocacy, policy, funding and other issues key to supporting play and physical activity in their community. Sessions ranged from recess design to disability rights to involving girls in team sports and others.  

More Updates


March 25, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Physically Distant with No Equipment ›

As more and more schools transition back to in-person learning, we know educators are looking for games that are physically-distant and don’t require equipment. The need for play is more important than ever due to the isolation that our kids have endured during COVID-19. Play encourages creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and other critical social skills. We’ve…

March 12, 2021

Playworks: One Year Later ›

One year ago… All of our partner schools closed their buildings and our work serving kids in schools risked coming to a halt. We knew our mission had to continue. We remained committed to providing opportunities for joy and connection through play for kids in a COVID safe way, regardless if their school was virtual,…

December 15, 2020

Top 6 Games to Play Virtually ›

Many educators have risen to the challenge of transitioning their lessons to accommodate virtual education, and Playworks has been helping educators ensure play remains in every child’s day, even online. Kids prioritize play, and with our support educators are leveraging play when teaching virtually in order to keep kids engaged, active, and to build community.…